Though only previously hinted at before, I was able to chat with Josh Fairhurst from Mighty Rabbit Studios today to confirm that Breach & Clear, a tactical strategy game currently available on Steam and other platforms, will be coming to PlayStation Vita before too long. Here's what Josh had to say about the pending release.
-1-Michael A Cunningham (Pocket-Console): The original Breach & Clear seems to have done well on PC, what pushed the decision to bring this to Vita?
Josh Fairhurst (Mighty Rabbit Studios): I'm a huge fan of the Vita as both a player and a developer. I've actually wanted to put something out for the Vita for a very long time. As luck would have it, our publisher was looking to expand the reach of the original game and I used that as an opportunity to finally move into Vita development.
-2-MAC: How has the control mapping to Vita worked? Any sacrifices having to be made in terms of controls?
JF: No sacrifices have been made. We've made sure to retain the touch controls of the original mobile version of Breach & Clear while simultaneously adding in full controller support. Players can choose to play B&C entirely with the front touch screen or entirely with the controller (or a combination of both). Thanks to this, the game will fully support the PlayStation TV.
Fun fact: the Vita version will actually be the first version of B&C to have controller support!
-3-MAC: What are some of the key differences you've had to deal with in terms of development between the Vita version and the mobile releases?
JF: This our first release on "real" hardware and by that I mean a platform from one of the big three (Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo). It was important for us to make sure we did this right. B&C was entirely touch based when we started the Vita version so our first step was making sure we fully supported the controller.
The second step was ensuring that the game ran as smooth as possible with no crashes or major bugs. With mobile and Steam releases there is very little that gets in the way of pushing a new update, so it’s fairly easy to patch out bugs as they’re found. Dedicated gaming consoles and handhelds on the other hand all have fairly involved processes for each update. It was absolutely imperative that we delivered a game that was solid as a rock from the ground up. I feel like we've hit that mark!
-4-MAC: You mentioned on Twitter doing a lot of optimizing to get this one running smoothly on Vita? Could you share a little about the optimization process and challenges? How's the framerate working?
JF: We went into the Vita version not really knowing what to expect in terms of performance and quickly realized a lot of optimization was needed. It's not that the Vita is underpowered – it's just that we had recently come of the PC version with nearly limitless resources. We spent nearly a month shaving precious milliseconds off of our frame times. In the end, we've got a game that runs at a consistent 30FPS. It's possible we could improve that even more as we're still optimizing the code as we move towards launch.
-5-MAC: What's the rough release schedule for the Vita version looking like right now?
JF: We're hoping to be through certification with Sony by the end of this month so that we can launch sometime in May. So far the probability of that happening is looking pretty good!
-6-MAC: Any future Vita development plans after finishing this project? Saturday Morning RPG, perhaps? B&C Deadline?
JF: Absolutely – like I said earlier, I'm a huge fan of the Vita! If we can bring a game there, we will. Keep your eyes glued to our Twitter account or the PlayStation blog for announcements from us.
-7-MAC: Are there any other notes you'd like to share with handheld gaming fans (aka TeamHandheld)?
JF: I'm personally a huge fan of physical game media and I know that a lot of other handheld gamers are as well. There's just something special about actually owning a game instead of intangible digital bits. Thanks to Brian Provinciano's trailblazing efforts with Retro City Rampage, it may be possible for Mighty Rabbit Studios to produce physical cartridges of our Vita releases. It's something I'm very interested in doing and hopefully it comes to fruition.
As with the previous question, keep your eyes on our Twitter account as we'll announce any physical releases there first. I wish I could announce something definitive here, but nothing is set in stone yet!
We here at Pocket-Console along with the rest of #TeamHandheld send our thanks to Josh Fairhurst as well as the rest of the Mighty Rabbit Studios team for their support of handheld gaming. Readers can look forward to the release of Breach & Clear before too long on the PlayStation Network. Follow the Mighty Rabbit team on Twitter as well as the Breach & Clear official game account for more info.